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The Beguiled: Movie Review

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I’ll start off with this – The Beguiled is a fantastic movie, but it has no business opening up in the summer. It is a very tense and bleak film that, in my opinion, could have done very well around October when audiences are more prone to seek out these types of films. Instead, we are getting Sofia Coppola’s newest film in June where it is sure to be swallowed up by films such as Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, and Despicable Me 3.

If you are not familiar with The Beguiled, the basic premise revolves around a Union soldier who after being injured in battle, is found by a young Southern girl who leads him to the all-female boarding school which she is part of. Despite his affiliation with the North, the ladies nurture him back to health. However, his presence there creates a lot of sexual tension and jealousy within the school and trouble follows thereafter. The cast includes Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, Elle Fanning, as well as Angourie Rice and Oona Laurance whom you may recognize from The Nice Guys and Southpaw respectively.

There are plenty of reasons why you should go out and support this movie. Like all of Coppola’s films, The Beguiled is a beauty to look at. Coppola says just as much with the camera and her imagery as with her actual characters. A lot of the tension between the characters is created without ever speaking because of what she is able to show us. That is something she does much better than a lot of other directors and has become a hallmark of her career as a director.

Now, it should be noted that while this film is only around 93 minutes in length, it is a slow and extremely tense burn. I know that there might be people who don’t appreciate movies that move at a slow pace but it works wonderfully for this movie. As I previously mentioned, there is a lot of sexual tension in this film and Coppola manages to clearly illustrate how each of the ladies feels about having this man in a place that clearly hasn’t had a man in a very long time. This tension constantly builds up and all the while it makes you feel anxious because you know things are going to go very bad in just a moment. It’s that anticipation that really raises this movie up to the next level. Alfred Hitchcock, who has long been regarded as the Master of Suspense, once said, “There is no terror in the ‘bang’, only in the anticipation of it,” and I think that if he could see this film he would be proud of what Coppola was able to accomplish. After all, some of the most anxiety-inducing moments in this film come when you think something is going to happen but it doesn’t.

The Beguiled is stacked with great performances all across the board. Nicole Kidman can do no wrong and she is terrific as Martha Farnsworth, the stern headmistress who begrudgingly agrees to care for the wounded soldier and Elle Fanning is straight up loathsome as one of the young girls vying for John’s (Colin Farrell) attention. The two standouts for me, however, where Colin Farrell and Kristen Dunst, both of whom demonstrate a wide range of emotions.

It’s hard to pin a single genre to this film because in many ways it’s a drama and in many others it is a thriller but it can also easily be seen as a horror. Ultimately, though, I’d put it somewhere with gothic-drama films. Sofia Coppola deserves all the praise in the world for making this story be as interesting as it turned out to be. It’s a bit of a long process but The Beguiled will pull you in and keep you guessing all the way through. It is a sensational piece of cinema, which uses incredible cinematography that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

The Beguiled (2017)
Director:  Sofia Coppola
Studio:  Focus
Genre:  Drama, Thriller
MPAA:  R
Release Date:  June 23rd, 2017
Author:  Eddie Lopez
Eddie Lopez Eduardo Lopez grew up in the hot deserts of the Imperial Valley (El Centro, CA) but now resides in San Diego. Eddie is a recent graduate from San Diego State University with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media. He grew up on classic horror movies but loves movies of every genre and every decade. Aside from talking about movies, Eddie enjoys writing screenplays and hopes to one day have one of his scripts made into an actual film.

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